Soundset Series: Beyond the Music

Please note that Soundset is a hip-hop festival, not a rap festival.  For those who still ask what the difference is, hip-hop refers to the culture in its entirety, which includes turntablism and beatmaking, graffiti and street art, and breakdancing, in addition to just rapping.  Great care has been taken to represent all these elements at Canterbury Park on the 29th, and the result is a gigantic event that extends beyond the main stage rap performances. 

Check out what else is going on at Soundset:

Last of the Record Buyers Production Showcase

Medium Zach and Brandon Allday of Big Quarters bring Last of the Record Buyers, an open session for local producers to showcase their beats for an audience, to Fifth Element every third Thursday, and the cream of that crop will get the chance to play their pieces in front of a significantly larger audience.  Many times producers will see Soundset as an opportunity to go above and beyond, with live instrumentation and MPC demonstration both present last year.  Anyone who ever told their Mom they didn't listen to the words should do themselves a favor and check out the slaps the talented instrumentalists will bring to the table.  Expect plenty of head-nods and people going "Ohh shit!" as the focus draws away from the rhymes and toward the music's backbone.

Red Bull BC One Breakdancing Cypher

This year, the Soundset Tent is being invaded by Red Bull's BC One Cypher, where B-Boys and B-Girls will compete one-on-one to move on to the next level in the energy drink's international breakdancing competition.  While the breaking portion of Soundset has always been on point, this year looks to be especially amazing, considering all of the dancers will be striving to show their very best to move on to the next round.  The line-up of DJs spinning in the tent for the competition would be worthy of checking out on its own, as original Rock Steady Crew member Skeme Richards heads up the tables with strictly 45's.  De La Soul's DJ Maseo will throw down as well, along with DJ Shortkut, Kid Cut Up, DJ Espada, and Noam The Drummer, who recently mixed a set comprised of all the Soundset artists as a preview for this year's festival.

Skateboard Showdown

Boasting a 48 foot ramp and potential cash prizes, the Familia and DC sponsored Soundset Showdown brings skateboarding into the fray in a big way.  Expect some impressive tricks and get to know your local skaters and skate shops.  Minneapolis has been on the map for skate culture for some time, and this skate demo and trick contest is the perfect way to find out why.

4th Annual Soundset Slow and Low Custom Car Show

Soundset Series: Beyond the Music
Photo by Nick Vlcek

If rap music and lowriders are not yet inexorably linked for you, they will be after seeing the Slow and Low Custom Car Show, a tribute to pimped rides that is a mini-festival unto itself.  Gearheads and novices alike will thrill at the incredible vehicles on display, which tend to include insane hydraulics, ridiculous paint jobs and spinning rims.  Cash prizes and trophies go to the whips with the highest bounce, loudest system and most acclaim from the audience. 

Live Painting Exhibit

For many outside of New York at the birth of hip-hop, films like Wild Style or the documentary Style Wars were their introduction to a radical new art form, and graffiti was at the forefront of that exposure.  Graffiti remains just as vibrant, provocative and dangerous as it was in it's early days, and seeing it unfold before your eyes is proof positive of why it will be forever powerful.  It is attention-grabbing by definition, and to witness the action firsthand feels like much more than a visual experience.  Last year's appearances from big name aerosol artists Pose, Risk, Ewok and Sever produced some truly amazing work (the BP goblins mural shown still hangs in the Fifth Element record store) and watching their mastery and technique remains a highlight.  Don't miss this portion of the festivities. 

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